Improving access to research for the social services

Can higher education digital repositories help?
Published on 16 Jul 2012

Higher education repositories are on-line spaces where university staff can deposit their research outputs, making them available for anyone to access for free. This report explores the potential for higher education repositories in Scotland to make a greater contribution to improving access to research for the social services. This report is based on primary research undertaken between February-May 2012 by Fiona Sherwood-Johnson who was based at Iriss during this period as part of the ESRC student internship scheme.

Summary of what we found

  1. Repositories are not delivering open access to all, or even most, research outputs at any of the universities studied
  2. There are practical steps higher education repositories could consider to improve the accessibility of their research
  3. The leadership required to make significant progress in relation to open access is likely to come from research funders and governments demanding greater public access to publicly funded research (rather than from individual universities)
  4. There is a need to address concerns about copyright
  5. Individual academics are often committed to improving access to their work and more could be done to encourage them to take action
  6. There are other routes to improve access

Project outputs

Project report: This provides details about the research findings and next steps for Iriss for this area of work.

Research resources collection: A collection of research resources and routes through which to find and access research for free.